I’m delighted to announce the release of my New Album, called The Girl With The Beret.
It is available now for pre-order on Bandcamp and will be officially released on Monday 3rd October, 2016.
’The Girl with The Beret’ is a 1916 Concept Mini-Album, inspired by my great-grandaunt Katie, otherwise known as Catherine Rooney (née Byrne).
According to her witness statement, recorded with the Bureau of Military History (Ireland), she was the first woman to enter the GPO in Dublin on the day of the Rising on Easter Monday 1916. Having followed her brothers down O’Connell St., she kicked in a side window of the GPO and climbed in. She tended to the wounded, earning herself the title of ‘The Petticoat Heroine’ in the press in later years.
Katie also delivered several dispatches during the week, including one important note written by Joseph Plunkett and given to her by Pádraig Pearse. She concealed the note in her hair and brought it to the Four Courts. Katie describes running under fire and narrowly escaping death, when a bullet passed by her head leaving two holes in her beret. She also describes her family’s involvement in the War of Independence, in the years following the Rising. Their house, at 17 Nth Richmond St., was used as a secret HQ for a special squad called the ‘Guards of the Active Service Unit’. Firearms and ammunition were temporarily hidden in various secret places in the house, including the first Thompson gun smuggled into Ireland. Her Mother, Mrs Catherine Byrne (née Dowling), provided a safe house during this time, feeding and tending to the many men who were involved and needing a place to hide.
Comprised of a series of songs and spoken word tracks, which flow seamlessly from one into the other, The Girl With The Beret weaves the story of a young woman caught up in the 1916 Rising in Dublin.
A fusion of alternative folk, popular ballad and classical strings. It gives a unique insight into the perspective of an ordinary girl living at that time and what it meant, as a female, to be involved in the Rebellion.
Kate O’Callaghan, Seamus Devenny, Tim Jarvis, Declan McClafferty and Martin Smyth (from alt. rock band In Their Thousands), Stephen McDaid, Billy Robinson, Paul Devenny and Kevin Murphy.
Recorded and Mixed by Orri McBrearty at Attica Audio, Donegal.
Mastered by Richard Dowling at WavMastering, Limerick.